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Friday, August 7th, 2015

Fine weather ushered in our final day on the water for this sailing group. Their strong performance throughout the week allowed our instructors to challenge all sailors to a multi-leg race to/from Mortimer Spit as the “grande finale” to the week. To add some spice, Laser sailors were required to beach the boats, circling them on foot AND completely roll/right their vessels on the water.  It was destined to be a day of drama and fun, keeping our land-based Directors busy scanning the horizon while others manned our crash boat on the water. Things started with beach instruction on rigging a Laser II which, of course, our instructors snaffled as their preferred rig for the romp (providing them with an – ahem – slight advantage). Spectators enjoyed 10 boats mastering the breeze along some fine gymnastics to execute Laser rolls.

Friday PM #14 Friday PM #15

The race dispensed with, our hungry sailors arrived at Mortimer Spit for the traditional BBQ. They dispatched our goodies using the same precision targeting displayed in the race. “One up/one down” was the order of the day – keeping our parent and director volunteers more than a little busy satisfying pent up demand – lol. It was a fun filled hour where everyone gelled and relaxed before returning to the matter at hand … sailing in perfect weather in pristine waters.

Friday PM #10 Friday PM #6 Friday PM #7 Friday PM #9And sail they did! Often the end of the week leaves tired sailors slowly de-rigging boats and returning them to their base. This group was still rocking with juniors being introduced to the advanced Laser boats thanks to our more experienced sailors guiding them. The sailing continued into the late afternoon with boats beached long after our instructors had left to return to Vancouver Island. It was an unmitigated blast for sailors and spectators …

Friday PM #12 Friday PM #11 Friday PM #5 Friday PM #4 Friday PM #3 Friday PM #2 Friday PM #1 Returning Home with a Dry-Roll

Our sailors and parents have always been generous and fulsome with their praise for the efforts of the volunteer Board as well as our instructors. We were delighted when they handed instructors and the Board a card with well wishes at the conclusion of the week. Surprise turned to mild shock when our parents also donated funds to assist in refurbishing some of our boats. We will develop a work plan to put your generosity to best use over the winter! A huge thank you from all of us to each of you.

Thanks Thank You Cards

Day 3 – July 9th, 2014

Yesterday’s Boom mishap was soon rectified with the help of Director Bob who fixed our battered spar and returned it to the clubhouse the same evening. It sure felt stronger than new and made it through a strong wind day without a hitch.

Boom Stronger Than New

It was a sunny and blustery morning with a reported 40 knots in Johnson Strait not very far away. Fortunately Browning Harbour is protected on 3 sides, providing an ideal location for young sailors. We were probably running closer to a steady 10 knots close to shore and 15 further out in our anchorage, making for a lively yet controlled introduction for our students. Our flag flew proudly and despite the higher than normal breeze, all boats were fully crewed on the water.

Flag at 10-15 Knots  The Good Life at Speed

It turned out to be a supreme water day for everyone as winds tapered in the afternoon, yet stayed steady throughout the day. Judging by the squeals of delight we knew they were have a great time – managing their boats in lively circumstances. We never did get to see a boat dawdling as they all seemed to be stuck with a foot on the accelerator. The old adage that a sailboat spotting another sailor automatically transforms into race mode sure was true of our participants today!

Passby for Grandpa JimTogether for Once

Despite the boisterous water antics, lunch together followed by the finer points of instruction from Nathan provided the backdrop for the afternoon session back on the water. We suspect our students will sleep well tonight!

Lunch Hour Instruction on the SlateLunch TogetherDerigging

Day 2 – July 8th, 2014

Day 2 represented our capsize event. Traditionally held at the end of the course, Capsize Day has been advanced as kids self-confidence noticeably grows after a successful rescue. Instructor Nathan provided a demo, walked attendees through the steps, then assigned teams and circled in case of any needed assistance. Our students were troopers with the final group opting for a cold swim to the beach to bask in their success.

Final Capsize Instructions Capsize Team at Work

Nathan Back Upright Long Way BackIntrepid Swimmers

Among the more unusual events, one of the student Flying Juniors suffered a broken boom. Fortunately no one was hurt and our students enjoyed a free tow back to shore from the Instructor Boat. After their return to the lot, all returned to the water on the Instructor Boat at which point we adopted a cycle policy of mixing crews to ensure everyone had a full afternoon on the water. It was a happy example of quick recovery from a mishap and sharing of duties among participants to focus on the positives. Below is our boat back on shore with the broken boom which will be repaired tonight.

Brooken Boom


It was a pleasure to see the mixture of new and established skills. Dr. Don took the opportunity to escort a few of our newcomers on their own expedition across the waters. There is no better way of gaining confidence than in the hands of a pro! On the flip side, returning students were already self-launching their vessels on the 2nd day of activities.  Thanks to the returning crew of 8 veterans, most boats handled their beach launch with aplomb and zero fuss.

Dr Don with Newcomers. Self-Launching on Day 2

And on a lighter note – on this day of infamy where Germany humiliated Brazil in World Cup activity, our own shore activities were uprooted by a 4 legged ball-hogging thief. He was clearly the audience favourite on Pender – lol.

World Cup Ball Thief


Day 1 of our first Course

Monday dawned overcast as 8 veterans and 4 newcomers convened in Browning Harbour. The weather Gods soon cooperted as it was clear that our sailors were determined to get out on the water that very morning. By 11:00 the group was on the water and doing a great job sailing in the bay.

That continued throughout the day with a short break for lunch and the weather steadily improving. By the afternoon it was clear skies, mild winds and warm temps. A true Pender summer day!

Here are a few pictures of our first water day of the season.

Boat Prep Instruction on the Beach. Jib Sheet Instruction Morning Boat Prep. Our Junior JUNIOR Sailors

Our thanks to the Board, almost all of whom turned out for this starter day. We had cleaned boats (cleaned a weekend ago) and a spruced up parking area to show for their collective efforts. Happy and safe sailing to everyone.


Our courses follow the latest guidelines of Sail Canada (previously called the Canadian Yachting Association). These guidelines were developed to ensure consistent teaching approaches across Canada. In addition to new course designs, a central registry ensures students have portable accreditation which is recognized throughout North America.

Pender Island Junior Sailing is a participating member of Sail Canada, following their approved methodology. Our instructors are trained and certified by BC Sail which falls under the guidance of Sail Canada with individuals certified for each level of instruction.

Three courses form the current curriculum:

CANSail 1 is targeted to beginners and provides the basics of safety and sailing. The course emphasizes sailing and safety fundamentals.
Monday morning starts with the basics of sailing and rigging a boat. After instruction on the basic controls, balance and sitting position in the boat, students should find themselves on the water. Weather permitting this is generally on the first afternoon. Sailing is under the supervision of an instructor and, when deemed advisable, a competent adult will accompany a group on the first day. By Tuesday, sailors will be on the water by themselves (3 to a boat).
The week is spent reinforcing safety habits including sailing in every direction relative to the wind. You will learn to tack, gybe, sail upwind and how to recover from a capsized sailboat
By the end of the course teams should be able to sail with minimum input from our instructor.

CANSail 2 builds on the prior course, honing capabilities to allow students to sail in a variety of winds and seas. Graduates will be able to sail confidently by themselves.
The course expands on the foundations of CANSail1, emphasizing controlled responses to changing conditions using sail and boat trim, centreboard settings, and the fundamentals of heeling. The focus is on safe boat control in various weather conditions including a person overboard safety drill. Students will be tested near the end of the week to assess their CANSail 2 certification. We generally aim to end the week with a short multi-leg race where skills are showcased. Our aim is for you to have the skills, control and confidence to sail without supervision.

The Laser course is designed for advanced sailors who can single-hand dinghys and competitively handle their vessels in competitive conditions.
Sailing is in more challenging waters near the entrance to Browning Bay with participants approaching the stage of competitive dinghy racing. The aim of this course is to advance students beyond the fundamentals and potentially transition their skills into group racing. Emphasis is on optimizing boat speed, ensuring secure vessel handling in tight quarters and competitive sailing to a marker buoy. Terminology, Laser boat rigging, and sailing fundamentals will already be part of the participant’s repertoire. While the fundamentals will be reviewed, this will be in the context of optimizing efficiencies. The emphasis will be on boat control in close quarters and challenging sea states. Teaching will focus on boat trim, heeling, centerboard use, sail trim and sailing efficiently to a course buoy. Basic skills will be enhanced through a process of self-evaluation and on water instructor evaluation. New topics will likely include controlling sail shape and tacking and gybing using heel and roll tacks. Tactical racing decisions including rules of the road and competitive decisions in racing scenarios will prime candidates for future advanced courses.

Both CANSail 1 and 2 are offered to kids aged 9 and higher, teens and adults. Depending on the skill set of registered individuals, Flying Junior boats are generally used in both programs. Childrens programs assume 3 individuals to a boat with one week of land/water training.

The Laser course is open to teens and adults. Particpants are assigned individual high-performance Laser boats used for the one week session. This final session is run concurrently with a CANSail 2 program with a dedicated instructor for each course.